Photo of smashed glass with illustration of Florida outline

A residential construction project in Pinecrest, Florida is facing a major setback after a vandalism incident caused what the property owner is estimating to be $200,000 in damages.

“One of the workers here called me and said, ‘You need to get to your property. Someone basically smashed all the windows —  looks like with a hammer,’” said the owner of the property. “Obviously it’s disheartening, you know, it’s stressful,” they continued, adding “My kids are going to live here, so it’s bothersome.”

Reportedly, the incident resulted in the destruction of 26 sliding glass doors at the property.

Situations like this underline the importance of general contractor insurance and builder’s risk (or course of construction) insurance policies.

“Builder’s risk and course of construction insurance policies protect both contractors and project owners from damages to materials and supplies while a project is under construction,” notes Levelset’s Dawn Killough. “They help mitigate the risk of theft, weather, vandalism, and other potential causes of damage during a project. It really doesn’t matter who purchases the insurance, as long as the project is covered.”

In situations like these, there’s a chance that the project owner has initiated an insurance policy that can protect a contractor from significant damages resulting from vandalism, which is important for any contractors ‘

As construction lawyer Matt Viator adds, proper document retention and organization can be a huge boost to any insurance policy claims, especially when it comes to vandalism and other forms of damage that are out of the hands of contractors.

“[Take] pictures of everything, never assume work will be covered (verify!), and alert your insurers of damage as soon as possible,” says Viator. “Keep good records, save receipts, and save copies of every communication you make with insurers and those providing rebuilding work. Practically speaking, get ready to save, store, and organize tons and tons of paperwork, all of it essential.”

It’s also important for contractors to recognize the difficulties in project delays that can come from things like this, as well. According to the family who owns the Pinecrest residential construction project, they were set to move into the house within five to six weeks — a timeline that is very likely to see a setback following the incident.

Large demand within the residential construction industry in the past two years has led to contractors reporting an alarming increase in the price of their most needed materials, as well as the difficulty in getting these materials. The project’s need for so much specialty glass is a major problem in this vein, as the United States is seeing a major shortage of glass of all kinds.

Though Scott Defie, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, notes that “there’s no shortage of materials to make glass,” the fact that so many glass manufacturers are outside of the United States — with the main exporters being in China, Mexico, and India — makes the glass issue  “an import problem for all commodities.”